Gilead Raises Number of Participants in Coronavirus Drug Test

Gilead is more than doubling the number of patients using remdesivir in its clinical trials.
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Shares of Gilead Sciences  (GILD) - Get Report fell in an up market Thursday even after reported that the biotech stalwart has more than doubled the number of participants in its clinical trials for the coronavirus treatment it’s working on, remdesivir.

Gilead has increased the number of participants in its global, randomized, open-label Phase 3 test for those afflicted with moderate coronavirus symptoms to 1,600 from 600.

The company boosted the number of patients with severe symptoms being tested with the drug to 2,400 from 400.

Gilead expects initial results from the tests in May. Previously the company said it plans to make 500,000 treatment courses of remdesivir by October and 1 million by year-end.

The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved remdesivir as a treatment for coronavirus. But its use has been permitted on a compassionate basis in the U.S.

The drug has drawn explosive demand as the pandemic rages worldwide. 

Gilead said it has 1.5 million individual doses of remdesivir on hand, which could supply more than 140,000 patients.

The company isn’t charging for use of the medication.

“Providing our existing supplies at no charge is the right thing to do, to facilitate access to patients as quickly as possible and in recognition of the public emergency posed by this pandemic,” Gilead COE Daniel O’Day said in a statement last week.

Gilead shares recently traded at $73.30, down 2.25%, compared to a 2.12% gain for the S&P 500 index.

The stock has risen 11.5% in the last three months, contrasting a 13.8% drop for the S&P 500.